What a profound year it’s been—for you, for our kids, for all of us.
Change has enveloped all of us this year and I, like you, want to encapsulate the disruptions, minimize the trauma and just get on with my life. But even more than that, as a parent, I want to see my daughter, who will be starting her freshman year of high school in the fall of 2021, excited to learn again inside a classroom each day. I want to see her walk through those doors next year mask free and ready to take on new challenges without the burden of a global pandemic—or the fear that she’s not prepared for what comes next. And I know you want to be there too, doing what you do best for kids like mine.
Though she might not feel ready just yet, I know you’ve done everything in your power to help mitigate the disruptions in her learning since the beginning of the pandemic. This fact is not lost on me, or any other parent like me.
Last year at this time we were certain of one thing—we were all in this together. But as the year wore on we began to witness social, economic and political situations that left many of us feeling weary, angry and divided; sometimes within our own families. As a means of self protection we may have folded into ourselves and lost our ability to articulate this to our kids properly, or with the right level of sensitivity. That’s when you became an interpreter and a shoulder to lean on. Not only for us, but also for them. You kept listening, kept encouraging and because of you we learned that sometimes there simply is no right explanation. All we can do is keep learning, especially from our own mistakes.
Still, as resilient as you have been, please know that we, as parents, know how tired you must be right now. We’ve put a lot on your shoulders and we know the pandemic has taken a toll on you, too. For a while, and maybe even still, it took your students, your classroom, and the solid foundation of learning that you so carefully built.
Now your already tough job has become even more challenging.
You’re juggling virtual, in-class, hybrid teaching or asynchronous schedules that make your head (and ours) spin. You’re dealing with confused students, frustrated (and sometimes rude and disrespectful) parents while learning how to master technology that was never really supposed to become part of your daily life. Your passion for teaching may have been tested this year like never before. And, as a result, some of you may be reaching your breaking point.
Please know that we recognize your exhaustion. And, more importantly, we see you.
We see all that you have done, and we see all that you continue to do. We are so very glad you stayed in this fight with us because we simply could not have done it without you. Especially when our kids were sent home and we tried to juggle parts of your job along with our own, and failed miserably at both.
As this school year draws to a close, we promise to take back some of the heavy load we’ve placed on you. We’re better equipped to handle it now because you’ve taught us a few important lessons, too. We now know that when we work together for our kids, we can and we will make a difference. After all, it’s their future at stake. If we learned this lesson well, our kids will be okay, and they’ll go on to create a better world—largely thanks to you.
Though I could go on and on here, basically what this letter boils down to is gratitude. Gratitude for all that you do, all that you are, and all that you still want to achieve as an educator—oftentimes without a shred of the recognition you deserve. You have had an unfathomable year, but you are still here. You kept going and you found new and creative ways to keep our kids learning. You became a true hero in every sense of the word. And, once again, you have shown us all, as parents, colleagues and friends, what it means to be TEACHER STRONG.
So, from all of us at Nasco Education, and on behalf of parents everywhere … thank you so very much for never giving up on yourself, or our kids. Your impact will never be forgotten, and we are so grateful that in these defining moments of our lives, you were (and still are) here.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
A Grateful Mom and Manager of Digital Design & Copy